Sunday, March 24, 2019

The Divine Basis of the Great Commandment

One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question: “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
The essential Christian ethic is love. The commands such as "Do not murder", "Do not bear false witness", and the like are by virtue of this essential principle.
Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law. The commandments, “You shall not commit adultery,” “You shall not murder,” “You shall not steal,” “You shall not covet,” and whatever other command there may be, are summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no harm to a neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law. (Romans 13:8-10)
So, while particulars such as "Do not murder", "Do not steal", etc do not apply to God (who is One and there is no other distinct god(s) to kill or steal from), the universal essential principle of love must find its basis in Him; otherwise, it becomes invalid and non-essential. The Scriptures, however, makes it quite obvious that the Triune God is the supreme foundation of the Great Commandment.

While one may not find a big issue in God's exemplification of the second command to love one's neighbor as oneself (Jesus incarnated as flesh and blood and became our Good Samaritan), one can also clearly see in the Scripture that the Triune God exemplifies the first command to "Love the Lord your God with all your heart..."

One may ask, "How can that be possible, since there is no God above God? How can God love God will all His heart...?" The answer is that Jesus did refer to the Father as "My God", as in "My God and My God, why have You forsaken Me?" (Matthew 27:46). Similarly, the Father refers to the Son as God when He says, "Your throne, O God, will last for ever and ever; a scepter of justice will be the scepter of your kingdom." (Hebrews 1:8).

Similar verses that affirm love within the divine community fill the pages of the Gospels.

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